Aistear and Siolta

This document provides an audit of Aistear: the Early Childhod Curriculum Framework1 and Síolta, The
National Quality Framework for Early Chilhood Education. The audit was carried out jointly by the National
Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the Centre for Early Childhood Development and
Education (CECDE) which developed Síolta on behalf of the Department of Education and Science. The CECDE
closed in November 2008 and responsibility for the implementation of Síolta now lies with the Department of
Education and Science.
The audit will support the sector in using Aistear and Síolta together to support the development of early
childhood practice across the variety of settings in Ireland. It does this by

  1. identifying links between the principles underpinning each framework
  2. outlining the different emphases of Aistear and Síolta
  3. showing how using the two frameworks together can enrich children’s experiences


Síolta is the National Quality Framework for the Early Years in Ireland. The framework is designed to provide guidance and support for all those concerned with the well being, learning and development of our youngest children. It outlines 16 standards early childhood settings should meet when providing a quality service.

As part of Preparing for Life Phase I, we employed a Síolta coordinator to support early years services to work through the Síolta Quality Assurance Process. As a result of this support, six early years settings in our target area have achieved Síolta Accreditation.


Aistear is the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework for all children from birth to six years in Ireland.  It provides information  for adults to help them plan for and provide enjoyable and challenging learning experiences, so that all children can grow and develop as competent and confident learners within loving relationships with others.

Aistear describes the types of learning (dispositions, values and attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding) that are important for children in their early years, and offers ideas and suggestions as to how this learning might be nurtured. The Framework also provides guidelines on supporting children’s learning through partnerships with parents, interactions, play, and assessment.

The principles and themes of Aistear underpin the work of a number of our programmes:

  • Our Early Years Practice Programme provides early years settings with a Quality Mentor who supports them to implement the Aistear Curriculum Framework.
  • Our Play to Learn programmes supports Junior Infant and Senior Infant teachers to implement the Aistear Curriculum Framework.